Volleys and drop shots

By Skip Bandele

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Tennis||Tennis’ last Grand Slam tournament of the season, the US Open, has begun in New York with Andy Murray (pictured) attempting to defend the title he won here last year.

Before the reigning Wimbledon champion entered the fray late Wednesday afternoon, Britain’s ‘lesser’ entries had already made a successful start, with unheralded Dan Evans ousting Japanese world No11 Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, while Laura Robson defeated promising Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino 7-5, 6-0.

Portuguese hopefuls João Sousa, Michelle Brito and Maria-João Koehler were all due to start their respective campaigns in mid-week.

Meanwhile, former top Portuguese player Rui Machado is continuing his comeback from injury at altogether less glamorous venues. The 30-year-old from Faro reached the semi-finals of the Poznan Future in Poland last week before falling to Hungary’s Kristijan Mesaros, and faced Slovakia’s Mario Turcan in the opening round of the Carbo-Koks Bytom Open earlier this week.

Another rising Algarvian who recently made his Davis Cup debut, André Gaspar Murta, is gaining experience in Finland. The promising youngster from Tavira reached the quarter-finals of the Nastola Future before losing 2-6, 6-2, 4-6 to Estonian Vladimir Ivanov.